Linux Memory Analysis
The output of a memory acquisition tool is a memory image which contains the raw physical memory of a system. A wide variety of tools can be used to search for strings or other patterns in a memory image, but to extract higher-level information about the state of the system a memory analysis tool is required.
Linux Memory Analysis Tools
- The Forensic Analysis Toolkit (FATKit) is a cross-platform, modular, and extensible digital investigation framework for analyzing volatile system memory. (Publication Date: 2006; Availability/License: not available)
Open Source Projects:
- The Volatility Framework is a collection of tools, implemented in Python, for the extraction of digital artifacts from volatile memory (RAM) samples. Support for Linux is experimental, but available from Subversion in the linux-support branch. (Availability/License: GNU GPL)
- Foriana is tool for extraction of information such as the process and modules lists from a RAM image using logical relations between OS structures. (Availability/License: GNU GPL)
- Draugr is a Linux memory forensics tool written in Python. (Availability/License: GNU GPL)
- Volatilitux is another Linux memory forensics tool written in Python. (Availability/License: GNU GPL)
- The Red Hat Crash Utility is an extensible Linux kernel core dump analysis program. Although designed as a debugging tool, it also has been utilized for memory forensics. See, for example, the 2008 DFRWS challenge write-up by AAron Walters. (Availability/License: GNU GPL)
- Idetect (Linux) http://forensic.seccure.net/ is an older implementation of Linux memory analysis.
- Second Look: Linux Memory Forensics from Raytheon Pikewerks Corporation can analyze live memory or stored snapshots (physical memory images). It can be used to detect rootkits and other kernel-hooking malware, unauthorized applications and services, and stealthy user-level malware, as well as obtain forensic information about the state of the system. It has command-line and GUI interfaces, and reverse engineering capabilities including built-in disassembly and hexadecimal data views. An online reference kernel repository provides baselines for verification of thousands of distribution stock kernels, while an online pagehash database provides the baselines for verification of hundreds of thousands of Linux software packages. As of April 2012, it supports x86 and x86_64 targets running any 2.6-series kernel and 3-series kernels up to 3.2. (Availability/License: commercial)
Linux Memory Analysis Challenges
- The Digital Forensic Research Workshop 2008 Forensics Challenge focused on the development of Linux memory analysis techniques and the fusion of evidence from memory, hard disk, and network.
- Challenge SSTIC 2010 (French) dealt with analysis of physical memory from a mobile device running Android.
- Challenge 7 of the Honeynet Project's Forensic Challenge 2011 included forensic analysis of a memory image from a potentially compromised Linux server.
Linux Memory Images
Aside from those in the challenges referenced above, sample Linux memory images can also be found on the Second Look web site at http://secondlookforensics.com/images.html.
Linux Memory Analysis Bibliography
- Digital Forensics of the Physical Memory M. Burdach, March 2005.
- Linux Physical Memory Analysis, Paul Movall, Ward Nelson, Shaun Wetzstein; Usenix, 2005.
- An Analysis Of Linux RAM Forensics, J.M. Urrea, Masters Thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, 2006.
- Linux Memory Forensics for DFRWS Challenge 2008 using Volatility, Crash, and PyFlag, by AAron Walters on the Volatile Systems Blog.
- FACE: Automated digital evidence discovery and correlation, Andrew Case, Andrew Cristina, Lodovico Marziale, Golden G. Richard, Vassil Roussev, DFRWS 2008
- Linux Live Memory Forensics, a presentation by Desnos Anthony describing the implementation of draugr, 2009.
- Forensic RAM Dump Image Analyzer by Ivor Kollar, describing the implementation of foriana, 2009.
- Treasure and tragedy in kmem_cache mining for live forensics investigation by Andrew Case, Lodovico Marziale, Cris Neckar, Golden G. Richard III; Digital Investigation, Volume 7, Supplement 1, The Proceedings of the Tenth Annual DFRWS Conference, August 2010. (Presentation)
- Second Look Web Page
- De-Anonymizing Live CDs through Physical Memory Analysis (Whitepaper) (Slides) Andrew Case; Blackhat DC 2011.
- Bringing Linux Support to Volatility, Andrew Case; Digital Forensics Solutions Blog, 2011.
- Workshop - Linux Memory Analysis with Volatility (Slides) Andrew Case; Blackhat Vegas 2011.
Volatility Mailing List Threads on Support for Linux: